Fiber-optic Seismology


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Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) is an emerging technology that repurposes a fiber-optic cable as a dense array of strain sensors. This technology repeatedly pings a fiber with laser pulses, measuring optical phase changes in Rayleigh backscattered light. DAS is beneficial for studies of fine-scale processes over multi-kilometer distances, long-term time-lapse monitoring, and deployment in logistically challenging areas (e.g. high temperatures, power limitations, land access barriers). These bene fits have motivated a decade of applications in subsurface imaging and microseismicity monitoring for energy production and carbon sequestration. DAS arrays have recorded microearthquakes, regional earthquakes, teleseisms, and infrastructure signals. Analysis of these wavefields is enabling earthquake seismology where traditional sensors were sparse, as well as structural and near-surface seismology. These studies improved understanding of DAS instrument response through comparison with traditional seismometers. More recently DAS has been used to study cryosphere systems, marine geophysics, geodesy and volcanology. Further advancement of geoscience using DAS requires several community efforts related to instrument access, training, outreach and cyberinfrastructure.